Heat first 4 ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles begin to form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in figs and dates. Let stand 20 minutes or until fruit softens.
Combine sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until well blended. Stir in cooled milk mixture.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Followed the recipe mostly as is for the first time, using orange peel since that was on hand, and added King Arthur Flour's orange oil (1/4 tsp) and lemon oil (1/2 tsp) to the cooling buttermilk mix. I also used heaping 1/4 and 1/8 tsps of the nutmeg and cloves for extra flavor - CL recipes are my favorites but almost always need more spice and heat for my family. Wonderful flavor, love the combo of flavors and the softened dried fruit is very nice, but the bread is a bit dry, at least the close-to-end piece I just had. I was surprised at the 40 minute baking time, but it was really brown at the corners and done at 40 min., so I may check next time at 37-38 minutes. If I still find the texture dry I might add a Tbl of melted butter or increase the buttermilk or oil. Lovely for breakfast or for an afternoon snack, not too sweet but wonderful fruity, citrus flavor. Definitely will make this one again in the weekly breakfast bread/muffin rotation!